Project Blue Contributors

Zoe Allen

Zoe Allen

Marine Science Educator

Zoe Allen is a marine science educator at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Roundhouse Aquarium Teaching Center. During her time as an educator, she has focused on developing curriculum and classes for both aquariums that align with Next Generation Science Standards. In 2018, she co-wrote the curriculum for the Sustainable Aquaculture Pilot Program of which the Project Blue, At Home Edition of Sustainable Aquaculture Program is based off of.

Zoe earned her Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach. During her time as an undergraduate student, she volunteered in research labs, interned at the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, and also worked at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Dr. Robert Ballard

Dr. Robert Ballard

President of the Ocean Exploration Trust Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration, Graduate School of Oceanography URI

Among the most accomplished and well known of the world’s deep-sea explorers, Dr. Robert Ballard is best known for his historic discoveries of hydrothermal vents, the sunken R.M.S. Titanic, the German battleship Bismarck, and numerous other contemporary and ancient shipwrecks around the world. During his long career he has conducted more than 150 deep-sea expeditions using the latest in exploration technology.

Dr. Ballard has been a pioneer in the development of advanced deep submergence and telepresence technology. Although his Ph.D. is in Marine Geology and Geophysics, his scientific interests run the gamut from the volcanic, tectonic, and hydrothermal processes of the mid-ocean ridge to deep-sea archaeology and maritime history. Dr. Ballard also spends a great deal of his time involved in various educational outreach programs. In 2008, Dr. Ballard secured the E/V Nautilus, which has become his flag-ship for exploration, operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust and funded in part by NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration. Nautilus is connected by way of a high bandwidth satellite link to the University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center and from there to the world.

He has received prestigious awards from the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society—the Explorers Medal and the Hubbard Medal, respectively—as well as the Lindbergh Award. In 2003 President George W. Bush presented him with the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal in the Oval Office of the White House. He is currently a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.

EDUCATION:

University of California, Santa Barbara, B.S. Physical Science, Majors: Chemistry/Geology; Minors: Physics/Math;
University of Hawaii, Graduate School in Oceanography;
University of Southern California, Graduate School in Marine Geology; University of Rhode Island, Graduate School in Oceanography. Ph.D. Marine Geology and Geophysics Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics the CEO

Megan Cook

Megan Cook

Manager of Education Partnerships and Programs at Ocean Exploration Trust

Megan Cook is Manager of Education Partnerships and Programs at Ocean Exploration Trust. She has worked for Dr. Bob Ballard, the man who discovered the Titanic wreck, for 6 years including countless expeditions at sea aboard the E/V Nautilus. Join Megan on Friday as she recounts her favorite discoveries on the seafloor, such as, the octopus garden in the Monterey Bay where thousands of octopods sat brooding over their eggs in a nursery atmosphere. Megan’s role at OET is planning and executing outreach to global audiences and creating education programs like the Nautilus Ambassador Program, Science Communication Fellowship, Science & Engineering Internship Program, professional development training workshops, and Community STEM Program year-round. Megan has a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Oregon State University with an emphasis in marine biology. She also was an International Scholar studying tropical ecology at James Cook University in Australia and studied oceanography with Sea Education Association.

Ocean Exploration Trust and the Nautilus Exploration Program seek out new discoveries in geology, biology, and archaeology while conducting scientific exploration of the seafloor. Their expeditions launch aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus — a 64-meter research ship equipped with live-streaming underwater vehicles for scientists, students, and the public to explore the deep sea from anywhere in the world. They embed educators and interns in their expeditions who share their hands-on experiences via ship-to-shore connections with the next generation. Even while we are not at sea, explorers can dive into Nautilus Live to learn more about their expeditions, find educational resources, and marvel at new discoveries.

Anna Cummins

Anna Cummins

Deputy Director & Co-Founder, 5 Gyres

Anna Cummins has over 25 years of experience in environmental non-profit work, education, writing, and campaign development. She has worked in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, sustainability education, and high school ecology instruction. Anna received her undergraduate in History from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute for International Studies. In 2001, Anna received a fellowship from the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program, to work with Santa Cruz based non-profit Save Our Shores, coordinating bilingual outreach education and community relations around marine conservation initiatives.

In 2007 Anna joined the Algalita Marine Research Foundation as education adviser, conducting school outreach and giving public presentations on plastic marine pollution. In 2008, Anna completed a month long, 4,000-mile research expedition studying plastic debris in the North Pacific Gyre, during which her now husband Dr. Marcus Eriksen proposed. The two married during a 2,000 mile cycling/speaking tour from Vancouver to Mexico, giving talks about plastic pollution. In 2009, Anna and Marcus co-founded The 5 Gyres Institute, to eliminate plastic pollution in the world’s oceans through research, education, and community engagement.

In 2014, 5 Gyres published the first global estimate on macro and micro plastics in the world’s oceans, the culmination of over 40,000 miles of scientific research across all 5 subtropical gyres. In 2013, 5 Gyres published the first scientific paper on plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. These findings served as the basis of a successful campaign to eliminate plastic microbeads from personal care products, culminating in President Obama’s passing of the Microbeads Free Waters Act.

Anna was elected a fellow of the Wings World Quest in 2011, received a Golden Goody Award in 2013, and serves on the Advisory Network of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP).

Vipe Desai

Vipe Desai

CEO, HDX Mix

Vipe is the founder and CEO of HDX Mix, an environmentally friendly sports drink mix. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, he has applied his more than 3 decades of experience in launching disruptive brands, brand building and cause-marketing strategies for both for-profit and non-profits. Currently Vipe is serving as a Board Member for Ocean Champions, Lonely Whale Foundation and RichUncles.com, an SEC reporting company managing more than $300 million in assets.

In the early 90’s, Vipe created the H2O Winter Classic, a two-day surf and snowboard competition with a concert which went on to inspire the Vans Warped Tour and the X Games. In the late 90’s, he helped launch Red Bull in the U.S. Vipe has been called upon by numerous brands, CEO’s and even political campaigns to advise on branding, marketing and turn-around strategies which also included creating a campaign for Partnership for a Healthier America chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Today, Vipe’s focus is on ensuring that future generations are met with a healthy and thriving ocean. He’s involved with several ventures focused around innovations and solutions that will reduce plastic waste and minimize impact on the planet.

As a way to help entrepreneurs, he launched the Army of Gamechangers podcast where he interviews executives who share their best career and leadership advice.

Keep up with his projects and ventures at vipedesai.com

Dr. Marcus Eriksen

Dr. Marcus Eriksen

Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder, 5 Gyres

Marcus Eriksen is Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder of 5Gyres, an organization dedicated to empowering action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure. He has led expeditions around the world to research plastic marine pollution, co-publishing the first global estimate and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, which led to the federal Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015. He and his wife, Anna Cummins, began 5 Gyres with an 88-day journey from California to Hawaii on the Junk Raft, built from 15,000 plastic bottles. Earlier, Marcus had rafted the Mississippi River, writing about the river and his experience as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War in the book, My River Home (Beacon 2008). His second book, Junk Raft: An ocean voyage and a rising tide of activism to fight plastic pollution (Beacon 2017) recalls the rise of the plastic pollution movement, growing steadily today. He received his Ph.D from USC.

Dr. Jonathan Fram

Dr. Jonathan Fram

Associate Professor Senior Research in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University

Jonathan Fram is a coastal physical oceanographer. His focus is on building an oceanographic research community that shares quality field data as soon as they are collected. He is an Associate Professor Senior Research in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. Since fall 2018, Jon has been the project manager for the Coastal Endurance Array portion of the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a long-term interdisciplinary oceanography program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. He was a systems engineer for OOI from 2011 to 2018. He received his Master’s and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and he received his undergraduate degree in physics from Pomona College.

Dr. Burke Hales

Dr. Burke Hales

Professor of Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry at Oregon State University

Dr. Burke Hales is a professor of ocean ecology and biogeochemistry at Oregon State University. He earned degrees in chemical engineering and chemical oceanography at the University of Washington and served as a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate Change at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Oregon State. His research focuses on the ocean’s carbon cycles at its boundaries: The seafloor, the air-sea interface, and the land-ocean margins. As a testament to his technical innovation in ocean science research, Hales is the inventor of the “Burke-o-Lator,” a system that has revolutionized shore-based ocean acidification monitoring. More recently, he is the principal investigator of PacWave, a grid-connected wave energy test facility.

Rustom Jehangir

Rustom Jehangir

Founder, Blue Robotics Inc

Rusty Jehangir founded Blue Robotics in 2014, starting with a Kickstarter campaign raising more than $100,000 to manufacture an underwater robot thruster. The company now manufactures over 200 underwater robotic parts as well as the Blue Robotic designed underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle called the BlueROV2. The BlueROV2 sells at a price point well below competitors, making it accessible to all users, not just giant oil and gas companies.

Rusty has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering both from USC.

Dr. Geraldine Knatz

Dr. Geraldine Knatz

Professor of the Practice of Policy and Engineering, a joint appointment between the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of Engineering

Dr. Geraldine Knatz is Professor of the Practice of Policy and Engineering, a joint appointment between the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and the Viterbi School of Engineering. She previously served as the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles from 2006 to January 2014. She was the first woman to serve in this role and made a significant impact through the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, an aggressive plan that reduced air emissions by combined port operations of over 70% over five years. She was also the managing director of the Port of Long Beach where she led a number of environmental initiatives, including the Green Port Policy and Truck Trip Reduction Program.

She is corporate director at Bank of the West, past president of the American Association of Port Authorities and past president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors. She served for 10 years (2007-2017) on California’s Ocean Protection Council from 2007 to 2017, first appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and reappointed by Governor Brown. In 2014, she was named a member of the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of her international leadership in the engineering and development of environmentally clean urban seaports.

Dr. Chris Lowe

Dr. Chris Lowe

Professor of Marine Biology and Director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach

Dr. Chris Lowe is a professor in marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he and his students work with acoustic and satellite telemetry techniques to study the movement, behavior and physiology of sharks, rays and gamefishes.

Dr. Lowe earned his Bachelor of Arts in marine biology at Barrington College in Rhode Island and a Master of Science degree in biology at CSULB. In 1998, he achieved a doctorate in zoology, studying bioenergetics of juvenile hammerhead sharks, at the University of Hawaii.

Dr. Roberta Marinelli

Dr. Roberta Marinelli

Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University

Dr. Roberta Marinelli is Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. As dean she leads one of the strongest Earth sciences programs in the nation, with nationally recognized teaching and research expertise in oceanography, atmospheric sciences, geology, geography, and coastal studies.

Previously, Marinelli served as executive director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California, a post she held since 2011. There, she played a leadership role in planning and implementing an expansion of academic and research programs in environmental studies at USC’s University Park Campus, and directed the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island. Marinelli also oversaw the George and Mary Lou Boone Center for Science and Environmental Leadership, a nexus where scientists and policy makers can meet to resolve environmental challenges.

Prior to her arrival at USC, Marinelli was the Director of the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Sciences section, where she helped to lead the development of collaborative, interdisciplinary programs across the Foundation, including the International Polar Year, Climate Research Investments, and SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability). She was a tenured associate professor on the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, and an assistant professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Marinelli received her master’s and doctoral degrees in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society.

Dr. Andrew Thurber

Dr. Andrew Thurber

Assistant Professor in Oceanography and Microbiology at Oregon State University

Dr. Andrew Thurber is an Assistant Professor in Oceanography and Microbiology at Oregon State University (OSU). His research focuses on understanding how the ocean works with particular emphasis on teasing apart how the ocean system – from chemistry to animals – functions as a whole. His research is largely focused in deep-sea and polar habitats. He received a BSc in Marine Biology from Hawaii Pacific University, a Masters of Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs, and a PhD in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He was also National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow of Polar Regions Research, hosted at (OSU). Andrew has been an OSU faculty member for the past six years. Over his career he has spent 334 days on the ocean, 7 months living in Antarctica, accumulated over a week underwater diving under the ice, and has dove to 2700 meters depth in submersibles.